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Keeping Score? Metrorail = 5, Passengers = 0

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by dc sports, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. dc sports

    dc sports Member

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    Another car was hit by the train, which has yet to carry a single passenger. Again it was "the driver's fault" -- they shouldn't have driven out an exit to an employee parking lot that was supposed to have a chain.

    The interesting thing is, immediately following this story, Channel 11 aired a commercial featuring the Chief of Police for Metro, who said "Safety is a responsibility we all share." At what point is metro going to quit placing all of the blame on the drivers, and share some responsiblity for poorly designed sections of the track which allow cars to be on the track when the train is there?

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2328802

    Metro train, vehicle collide in the fifth such incident
    Another motorist was involved in an accident with one of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's light rail cars Tuesday evening near Reliant Park, but there were no injuries reported.

    The accident, the fifth such incident, happened after a vehicle pulled from a private drive at 8250 1/2 Fannin where a chain across the driveway that otherwise would have prevented access to the street appeared to have been vandalized, said Metro spokesman Ken Connaughton.

    The driver stopped on or near the tracks despite a railroad crossing sign and other posted safety signs, he said. The driver was cited for stopping or parking on the tracks, Connaughton said.

    All five mishaps occurred during test runs of Metro's light rail cars and were attributed to driver error. All five drivers were ticketed, Connaughton said. The rail line begins taking passengers Thursday.
     
  2. dc sports

    dc sports Member

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    I have kind of an open question -- I know that there are very strict rules in Texas for train crossings. Thjey have to meet very specific guidelines. If they have more than a certain amount of traffic, they have to have gate arms, audible signals, etc. Why don't these rules apply to the downtown train? Because it's "light rail?"
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    That's a fair question to ask. METRO definitely needs to stop the "it's all on you, drivers" routine. That's weak.
     
  4. MoBalls

    MoBalls Contributing Member

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    I think it is all on us drivers. Read the friggin signs and look at TV and realise that we now have light rail in our city. Pay freakin attention people! By the way, this doesnt mean that I was ever FOR lightrail.
     
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    i agree..the first couple of times it happened, i could understand that...but this is now a recurring theme for a system that doesn't even run with any regularity yet. january could be a good month to be a tow truck driver in midtown.
     
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    but again...there are conflicting signs...there are signs that say, do not ride over the rail....and then there are intersections where you enter a left turn lane where you do just that. particularly near the med center, entering hermann park.
     
  7. MoBalls

    MoBalls Contributing Member

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    Well then maybe METRO should run some adds on TV , teaching everyone what and what not to do. I knew there would be some problems in the beginng, I just hope no one gets killed.
     
  8. typhoon

    typhoon Member

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    I'm all for rail in Houston and I voted FOR the Metro plan in November with hopes that the extensions on the ballot will be elevated or in their own seperate right of way, similar to the system in Dallas. This street level trolley BS is ineffective and hopefully Metro will take these safety concerns into consideration when designing the extensions. Because..
    Trains+Cars+Houston Drivers=Bad Combination
     
  9. A-Train

    A-Train Contributing Member

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    TIme for the first official light rail conspiracy thread...Maybe the anti light-rail people are paying these drivers to intentionally smash into the trains in the hope of getting it shut down...
     
  10. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Trader Jorge hasn't posted much recently...
     
  11. allan

    allan Member

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    This is just further proof that Houston drivers have no regard for anything or anyone, whether it be a person a bike or a train. They think that cars are the only things on the road. I used to ride my bike in Houston as my main form of transport and I swear just about every day some idiot in an SUV either didnt see me or didnt care. Houston is so behind the times when it comes to transportation and environmental responsibility. The only reason this is making headlines is because an automobile was damaged. There are numerous accidents every year involving bikes and pedestrians that go unheard or unreported because there is no damage done to the car. Just goes to show how Houstonians value a car more than human life. I am so glad I have moved away from that cesspool.


    Think outside the box and get on a bike or go for a walk it will do us all a world of good.
     
  12. SpaceCity

    SpaceCity Contributing Member

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    How much of an idiot do you have to be to not think that a train might be on the tracks that you are crossing?!

    Face it, we have tons of idiot drivers out there. These are probably the same people who see a long line waiting to exit/enter the freeway and they pass everyone and try to cut in at the front of the line. The same people who have a phone inone hand and their coffee in another.

    All it takes is some common sense. If you are about to cross a train track then you better look both ways before you do so.

    People need to be held accountable for their own actions.
     
  13. ROCKSS

    ROCKSS Contributing Member

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    I am a bit shocked about this. I work for the Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha and this seems to be well above the normal "accidents" that occur during a ramp up operation. Who is directing the development and operation for this project? I assume it is not like Metra in Chicago which we fund and operate the operation in conjunction with the private sector.
     
  14. dc sports

    dc sports Member

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    It is being developed by METRO, a regional governmental body which is charged with developing mass "transportation solutions." It covers all of Harris County, and all of Houston. (All cities in Harris County, and the parts of Houston that are in other counties.) They essentially run the bus service for the area. Their experience is with busses -- this is their first train. It is run by a lady who we "stole away" from New York -- she does not have an engineering degree, just a high school diploma. However, she thought about attending community college twice.

    So -- they are fumbling through this as they go. It's not that the train is a bad idea -- I liked (and still like) the concept. It's just that the implementation has been horrible. The good folks at METRO seem to have very little idea what they are doing.

    I imagine that most of the people who say "who can be stupid enough to get hit by a train" haven't been along this train's route. If this were a normal train, with normal crossings (railroad signs, crossing arms, etc.) I'd say, yes, 5 drivers and it must have all been their fault.

    But this isn't a normal train. It's painted grey to 'blend in' and is VERY quiet. It moves quickly, along a very congested route with lots of driveways and buildings, in an area where you have a lot of people not used to the traffic anyway (medical center, museum district, downtown, etc.) The signs are small, designed to be unobtrusive -- some look like lite brites. They aren't the signs people are used to seeing for a train. Plus, drive down that street and you will see thousands of signs. Tell me it's possible for anyone unfamilliar with the area to read the signs, find where they are going, and pay attention to driving.

    Not to metion, it runs at street level, with the tracks being part of the street in many places. There are left turn lanes built onto the track -- you drive onto the track, and wait for a left turn signal. The fact that you can back out of driveways, and exit parking lots, and go onto the tracks without any sign or warning, is a problem. There are many intersections without any gate arms, bells, lights, etc. The only warning signal you get is the electronic air horn on the train itself, when it approaches an intersection -- a horn that is similar to the one on every police car and fire truck in the city.

    Even with pedestrians -- the normal crossing sign will tell you it's safe to cross the street, while another sign tells you don't cross because the train is approaching. There will be a pedestrian accident soon.

    But if you say -- yes, these drivers are idiots. It's hardly surprising to find idiot drivers in Houston -- or anywhere. (Many of them drive METRO busses.) This should not be a surprise to anyone. When you put in a train, you have to make it as idiot proof as possible, because in any collision -- it wins. They should have planned this better.
     
  15. GreenVegan76

    GreenVegan76 Contributing Member

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    I can't speak for all Houstonians, but I learned to look both ways before crossing a street when I was in the first grade. Take responsibility for your actions.

    This isn't a Metro issue; it's a common sense issue.
     
  16. subtomic

    subtomic Contributing Member
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    Someone at METRO read your post. I just saw an ad advising people to pay attention when driving around the light rail. Clearly, this BBS is a place where city leaders come for advice. :p
     
  17. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    It is common sense, but METRO has a responsibility to put up readable signage, to provide as much warning as possible for drivers and pedestrians, etc.

    I was and still am a huge proponent of light rail, however, METRO does bear the burden of responsibility for doing EVERYTHING possible to protect those who share the street with the rail cars. I just don't think they have done that. Live and learn and get better. That is something METRO needs to do.
     
  18. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    while my vote really doesn't count, you have my vote for chairman of Metro!
     

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